Reflecting upon the testimonies of child sexual abuse victims
Abstract – This study is part of a larger effort to reveal the problems that authorities face after the implementation of the Child Protection Law, enacted in 2005, which defines specific roles and responsibilities for the authorities, on the one hand. On the other hand, whether or not the rights and well-being of child victims of sexual abuse are taken into account in the context of the Law is investigated. The work began in 2013 in Zonguldak. This is a qualitative study based on semi-structured interviews conducted with 26 authorities such as social workers, lawyers, prosecutors, and police officials as defined under the Law. This study aims to uncover the dualities of the authorities’ opinions about sexually abused children who testify in the court. In sexual abuse cases, the expressions of child victims of sexual abuse about the incident and the perpetrator(s) are assessed in two opposite ways. Firstly, the expressions are assessed based on the conception that children are capable and accountable actors, as asserted by ‘New Childhood Sociology’ and secondly, based on some suspicions related to the view that the children have not yet completed the development stages. Children testimonies about the abuse they have suffered are important. However, when taking into account the opinions of the authorities, it is seen that the declarations of the children are treated differently by the authorities. It is also questionable if the legal system is helpful in the unfolding of theses cases. Thus, this study aims to evaluate the...
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